Chris Yaw

I am a Christ Lover

Chris Yaw

I know, I'm kind of messy - but here goes... I’m an Episcopal priest serving a congregation in Metro Detroit... With a passion for gun safety... A zest for online Christian formation... A zeal for video blogging... A constant writer... A heart for those who have unintentionally harmed... A commitment to workforce housing... A love for marrying people... And an amazing wife, three kiddos and a cat named Sparrow... If you have interests in any of these areas I'd love to connect with you.


Contact Details

  • St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan, 48076, USA

  • +011 248-557-5430


St. David's

I have served as rector of St. David's Episcopal Church in Southfield, MI for 16 years, join us Sundays in person or via zoom.

Trinity Gun Disposal

Working on the issue of unwanted gun disposal, we've made some real progress in helping rid the U.S. of unwanted firearms.


Since 2013 we have been helping people learn more about faith through our online learning courses at ChurchNext.

Oakland Housing

Helping middle income families get better housing is a challenge that Oakland Housing has been addressing for 75 years.

Hyacinth Fellowship

Because hurting others hurts us, the Hyacinth Fellowship organizes support groups and reminds us that we are not our worst mistakes.

Yaw Wedding

I have been officiating weddings for more than 20 years and continue to find joy in helping couples build lifelong relationships.

U.S. Guns Produced Today
Americans Accidentally Killed Today
Homeless Americans
Weddings Performed
  • Joseph on the Couch

    Joseph on the Couch

    “Well now Mr. Joseph, tell me how long have you been having these dreams?”
    Said the Austrian psychoanalyst to the humble carpenter-
    “Oh doctor, I guess I’ve had three or four in the last year or so.”
    “Ahh, and are there any similarities you see among them?”
    “Yes, in each one of them, there’s an angel who appears offering me guidance.”
    “I see.”
    “And every time I wake up I have to call the moving company.”
    “Yes, because the angel tells me to move to another city or country quickly or else!”
    “Ah. What do you mean, ‘or else?’”
    “Well, it’s that there’s danger lurking – serious threats to my wife and son – you know, he’s supposed to be the Messiah.”
    “I see. What do you mean by Messiah?”
    “Well, I’m not quite sure, because he’s not actually mine, he’s actually human and divine,.”
    “I see.”
    “And he’s supposed to grow up and redeem Israel from oppression as well as open the door to salvation to the entire universe.”
    “Do you mind if I tape record this session?”
    “Not at all.”
    “Has your son exhibited any tell-tale traits of a Messiah – you know, have his toys been miraculously fixed? Has he had seconds at the dinner table that mysteriously appear?”
    “No, none of that, he’s just an average kid.”
    “Hmm. Well, as you know, I believe the foundation of all dream content is wish-fulfillment, and that the instigation of a dream is always to be found in the events of the day preceding the dream.”
    “That means I have to ask you a few questions.”
    “How long have you been yearning to be the father of the Messiah?”
    “Never, really, it’s actually kind of a hassle.”
    “Hmm. And how long have you been wishing to see Israel redeemed?”
    “Oh, I guess as long as anyone. Though my major concern is staying in one place long enough to build up a clientele for my chair business.”
    “I see.”
    “So what should I do about these dreams, doctor?”
    “It’s clear to me that they are not linked to any paternal messianic yearnings, so I would adjust your diet. “
    “What do you mean?”
    “Try a glass of warm milk before you go to bed.”
    “And what about the angels? Should I do what they say?”
    “No, I would try to stay in one place long enough to establish some sort of regimen – stability being very important to the development of children.”
    “And what if they threaten us with danger?”
    “Just give them my card and I’ll be happy to talk with them. Now if you don't mind, I have another appointment waiting.”
    “Thanks so much for the advice, and I’ll make sure and pass along your card Dr. Freud.”

    And we humans have been trying to understand the ways God speaks with us ever since.

    While we rarely enjoy the concreteness of dreams and apparitions, it can take just as much faith to believe God is speaking to us through our prayers, intuitions and circumstances. And so we ask: How does direction come in our lives? How might the Lord be trying to talk to us now? In what ways can we listen more in the year ahead?
  • The Light Has Come

    The Light Has Come

    The assignment of this Sunday's lectionary text - St. John’s renowned allusion to light - always seems to hit those of us in the Western Hemisphere at a time of year when there could hardly be much less of it: "The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.“ (John 1)

    And to what kind of light might John be referring? we Michiganders wonder-
    For we are the inheritors of a variety of lights - Is it the gunmetal-gray light of winter-that cloud-filtered, ashen light, as monotonous as Seattle’s, that robs us of depth and makes everything look so flat?

    Is it the muggy light of Spring, the one that morphs the puddles into haze rising from the earth - producing a light that glows more than shines?

    Is it the glaring, frolic-y, mid-summer light the tourists come for-an emerald green light shimmering off of 13-thousand lakes, seen more for what it reflects than anything else?

    Or is it the golden light of October that’s as crisp it is warm-an antique light of “unearned nostalgia” (Don Waldie)?

    Here in Michigan, a place where the first European explorers wrote nasty letters back home using phrases like, ‘uninhabitable,’ ‘too swampy’ and ‘most unsuitable for professional football,’ we revel in the varieties of light our unique blend of precipitation and seasonal diversity bring us. For the light that we see, and the light Jesus brings is as multi-faceted as it is delicious-
    -as inspiring as it is wondrous.

    Ponder for a moment the various ways this light has come into your life.
  • Christmas!


    If the message and meaning of Christmas are all you need to have a happy holiday then you might have taken some inspiration from some of the more helpful resources out there. Take Alternatives for Christian Living and their great work of assembling ideas and traditions to help keep the emphasis on the holiday's first syllable.

    A cool look at consumption, of which Christmas is a huge part, is found in the video below, The Story of Stuff. It's a bit long, but it's broken down into short chapters so you don't have to watch it all at once.

    And if you're going to buy something special for that special someone, how about something that's actually from the holy land? Check out Al Kahf which is a Bethlehem arts and crafts syndicate or The Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative.

    One final suggestion that can inspire the holiday spirit like no other is to give a charity gift card. You may have heard of these - they're gift cards that recipients use to donate money to charities of their own choosing. Tisbest is one of the least expensive and gets good reviews, meanwhile a google search can turn up many more.

    Happy holidays!
  • Gabriel’s Travel Log: Mary Wasn’t First

    Gabriel’s Travel Log: Mary Wasn’t First

    Exactly how the angel Gabriel came to visit Mother Mary “In the sixth month,” as the Bible claims can now be more firmly established with the discovery of travel logs dating back some two thousand years.

    The logs were unearthed in what is believed to be a one-time union hall for heavenly messengers (the United Angel Workers?). Travel logs from supposed ‘angels,’ like Gabriel, also purport to belong to individuals named ‘Michael,’ Uriel,’ and ‘Raphael,’ among others.

    These logs lay out the angels’ travels for the five months preceding the encounter with Mary and, for the first time suggest that the virgin from Nazareth was not the first to be recruited as a potential mother of God. Archaeologists believe dozens of other young women were approached prior to Gabriel’s now famous meeting with Mother Mary. Here are some of the newly discovered travel log entries:

    “Gabriel: Month One: Arrived Sephoris 0700 hours. Approached woman named Zelda walking home from fruit market. Informed her of plan to become God’s mother. Subject ran away screaming. Had fruit for lunch.”

    “Michael: Month Two: Arrived Cesarea Phillipi 0700 hours. Encountered woman named Gladys walking along road with water buckets. Shared with her plan to bear God’s child. Subject interested but requesting remuneration.”

    “Raphael: Month Three: Arrived Decapolis 0900. hours Encountered eight woman at a book club. Detailed God’s plan to come to earth in human form. Subjects appeared interested and began asking questions. 1300 hours: Breaking for lunch, still answering questions. 1700 hours: Requested to return tomorrow to answer more questions. ”

    “ Gabriel: Month Four: Rome 0700 hours - 1700 hours: Unable to locate a virgin.”

    After sifting through hundreds of such entries archeologists and theologians have concluded that Mary’s response to God’s plan as detailed in the Bible, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word,” was truly unique.

    How are we responding to God’s plan for us?
  • Finding Your Vocation

    Finding Your Vocation

    OK, so maybe the notion that the Village People were just as interested in piquing vocational reflection as, say, getting free drinks at every bar in the Tenderloin is hopelessly na├»ve. But just look at them - those gaudy costumes, making definitive statements about each profession, all to that pulsating disco beat – who doesn’t have a good time when they’re in the room? What better band could be playing Advent III's ‘Gaudete’ anthems (not to mention wearing pink)? Whether they mean to or not, the Village People remind us of something important to all of us who are looking for contentment in the most time-consuming activity in which we will ever engage: our work.

    On this third Sunday of Advent vocation is on our mind.

    In our gospel we hear for a second week in a row about John the Baptist, a man with a mission, a man with a job. And we can’t help it if we’re somewhat envious of him - his vocation, as advance man to the Star. We marvel at his contentment, conviction, and strength of character in his calling. We wish we had such determination in our chosen fields.

    Our longing for vocational fulfillment is natural.
    Our discovery of it is often supernatural.

    Advent, more than any other time of year, asks us to wrestle with our jobs – or to use the religious term, our ‘vocation,’ It is the fit we feel between who we are and what we spend most of our time and energy doing. And not just the work we do for pay – but our volunteer work as well.

    Are we a good fit with the activities that we embrace?
    Are we in the right vocation?
    How can we know?

    Here’s a list of questions that can be helpful in assessing your work, whatever it might be. How might you answer them?

    1. Does my work interest me?
    2. Is there a chance for advancement, and does it matter?
    3. Does my work fit in with my personal vision for my life?
    4. How’s the pay?
    5. Does my work fit it well with my education?
    6. Does my work fit in well with my skills?
    7. What does the future of this industry look like?
    8. How strong is the organization I’m working for?
    9. Do I fit in with the organization’s vision?
    10. Do my personal values fit in with the organization’s?
    11. What’s my gut feel for the job?

    Here’s an old proverb, ‘When the Messiah comes, the Messiah will not ask if I was David!’ In the same way, you and I will never be asked if we are Mother Teresa or Billy Graham, we will be asked if we are who we are. How does our vocation reflect this? How might Christ be calling us to examine our work – and to change?

    Resources and References
    Holy Adventure: Forty-one Days of Audacious Living- Bruce Epperly
    Let Your Life Speak- Parker Palmer
    Listening to your Life- Frederick Buechner
  • Advent Conspiracy

    Advent Conspiracy

    Here's a project worth considering, and certainly worth contemplating at this time of year.

  • The Forerunner

    The Forerunner

    One of the things I loved about working in television in Los Angeles for 7 years was the occasional opportunity to see a live taping of a sit-com or talk show. For any of us who have ever attended one of these events we know what a production they are. Audience members, who are paid nothing, but valued highly for their role in making performers look good, are ushered into crammed sets well ahead of time to get ready for the show.

    The audience usually spends several hours at the taping, even though the final edited piece is much shorter. There are commercial breaks and re-takes to get the final version just right. And during these pauses the producers employ someone special. He (or she) is called an audience warm up comic. This person’s sole job is to keep the audience enthused, excited, and anxious to be a part of the next segment of the show.

    One of the very best audience ‘warmer-upper’s was a man named Johnny Olson. You may remember him as the original voice of ‘The Price is Right,’ who immortalized the line, “Come on down!” When it came to warming up audiences, Olson was a Hollywood legend. Years before he worked with comedian Jackie Gleason who would simply not go on stage if the audience hadn’t been primed by Olson – even if it meant flying Olson in from across the country.

    What made Olson so successful and beloved by Hollywood heavy weights, and oversized egos, like Jackie Gleeson and Bob Barker, was his ability to focus the spotlight not on himself, but on the ones who would follow him. Olson didn’t attend most of the industry parties he was invited to, nor did he get very involved in the highly politicized world of entertainment. He simply understood his job, showed up, and did it. He understood that the spotlight was not for him, but for another.

    As you and I contemplate the ‘readiness’ themes of Advent we can’t help but examine our own roles as forerunners and preparers of the Way. This week and next our Sunday gospel readings ask us to walk in the shoes (ok, sandals) of another famous Johnny who made a career out of promoting the one who would follow him. We will marvel at the Baptist’s seriousness, single-minded focus, and calm understanding of his role in life. And we can’t help but ask questions about ourselves.

    For we all are Johnny Olsons.

    How well do we understand our roles as preparers for the One who is to come? What are we doing to shine the spotlight not on ourselves but on Christ and God’s work in us?
    What might we do in the week ahead to prepare for Christ’s coming?
  • Advent in a Hut

    Advent in a Hut

    This one comes to us from over the pond- a unique way to commemorate the season with a real live Advent calendar that you've got to check out. Seems folk on the UK coast took over the usually dormant beach houses (aka tents with wooden supports) and made them into a living calendar.

    Every day a new 'hut' is revealed. Different families/groups take over different huts, decorating with lasers, kids and plenty of mince pies and mulled wine - a very creative way to count down until Christmas.
    Hmmm.... in what ways are we preparing for Christmas?
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    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA



    +011 248-557-5430